Editorial Parody ©2001 Jim Leftwich
Samples from Frida Kahlo paintings © Respective Owners

On Friday, July 20, 2001 I was listening, as I usually do, to the radio program Marketplace, which airs weekdays on my local public radio station, KQED.

I was taken aback by a strange, ranting commentary complaining about the new Frida Kahlo stamp included in that day's program. It included a bizarre mention of Norman Rockwell and the thought of the two artists juxtaposed caused a momentary chuckle. But apoplectic right-wing rants being rather commonplace these days, I promptly forgot about it.

That was until the next day when I logged into the WELL and browsing through the GenX conference, came upon Bob Rossney's precision blowtorch of a letter responding to Marketplace (reprinted by permission below).

As flames go, this one was perfectly formed: pure, clean, and blue. It simply inspired me.

And so, in honor of Bob's great letter in response to Van Gordon Sauter's embarrassingly lowbrow diatribe on Marketplace, and yet in a gesture of compromise towards the delicate and ill-formed sensibilities of those Americans who prefer their art with a heapin' helpin' of sugar and/or cheese, I humbly submit my entry for the next Frida Kahlo postage stamp...


Jim Leftwich


See: Frida Kahlo's "Self Portrait with Monkey" 1938

See: Norman Rockwell's "Triple Self Portrait" 1960


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Bob Rossney's Letter to Marketplace
Posted on the WELL (reprinted here by permission)
GenX Conference
"Letters of COMPLAINT goddamn it" Topic
July 21, 2001


Topic 1592 [genx]: Letters of COMPLAINT goddamn it

#241 of 255: da buddha would just pull out (rbr)
Sat Jul 21 '01 (12:21) 50 lines

Not exactly a letter of complaint. This is to Marketplace, the public-radio business program. Yesterday they aired a commentary by [Van Gordon Sauter], former president of CBS and Fox News, about the Postal Service deciding to put Frida Kahlo on a postage stamp. If you didn't hear it, well, it was pretty amazing. Here's what it boiled down to:

Kahlo is an obscure unimportant artist who wasn't even American.
She was only picked because she was a Hispanic disabled lesbian.
Also she was a STALINIST! She naively put her faith in the butcher of millions! Who wanted to overthrow the US of A!
Really! And she slept with Leon Trotsky!
She was married to Diego Rivera, who was a much better artist.
She's the sort of person that PBS would fawn over, which is why the limp-dicked liberals at the Postal Service chose her instead of sticking with real artists like Norman Rockwell.
She painted weird surreal paintings! One of them has STALIN in it! As a good guy!

I am TOTALLY not exaggerating. I mean, the internal contradictions alone should have given him pause (hmm, lesbian with male lover and husband, naive Stalinist whose lover was MURDERED BY STALIN) but he just soldiered on.

So, my letter of complaint, as it were:

To: letters@marketplace.org
From: rbr@well.com
Re: [Van Gordon Sauter] and Frida Kahlo

As Max Planck once said to a student, "This isn't right. This isn't even wrong."

Okay, so we have the US Postal Service putting someone known to have subscribed to a political philosophy inimical to the Republic on a postage stamp. This actually is a story. It's not *new* story, exactly (remember the Malcolm X postage stamp?) but it's a story.

But what is this sputtering, foaming, and just risibly *ignorant* raving all about? It's no crime to know nothing about Frida Kahlo except what you hear mumbled over brandy-and-soda at the 19th hole, but it's another thing to take this sketchy assemblage of half-truths and trot it out for public consumption.

I suppose there's some object lesson to be had from a public display of the media baron in his dotage. But really, this is a form of cruelty. Granted, it's hard to be sympathetic to its object while he drips with contempt for his listeners, but it's cruel nonetheless.

Bob Rossney


Frida Kahlo Stamp
©2001 Jim Leftwich - All Rights Reserved
Letter to Marketplace
©2001 Bob Rossney - All Rights Reserved

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